Various Artists

Sensate Silk

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Los Angeles-based 100% Silk intended the Sensate Silk compilation as a celebration, marking the indie house label's 100th release. Tragically, the album ended up being a memorial. Nearly two months before the compilation's release date, a fire destroyed an Oakland warehouse where a 100% Silk event was taking place, claiming the lives of 36 people, including artists who had released material on the label. The disaster made international headlines, prompting owners of similar properties that had been converted into D.I.Y. spaces to examine the safety of their buildings, and even leading to the closure of other venues and living spaces. The tracks on Sensate Silk are typical of the label's output -- lo-fi and unpolished yet blissful and atmospheric house tracks created by independent artists driven by their love for music, not a desire for profit, fame, or commercial success. Two artists who were scheduled to play at the event appear on this release; Nackt, who perished, contributed the simmering acid cut "Rising Tide," while survivor Donny (aka Golden Donna) is represented by the sparkling, heart-tugging "Roses." Many of the artists on the compilation are American, but the label is an international family -- Japanese artists Keita Sano and Inoue Shirabe make appearances, and other artists on the release hail from Canada and England. Cromie's "She Knew" is an early highlight, pairing scuffed-up kick drums with dreamy sax samples. Jack Novin's "Mass Ave" is a little slower, dubbier, and more downcast. All of the tracks are on the lengthy side, with Parc's 11-minute "Silk Road" making for an exceptionally hypnotic journey, and the nine-minute "Untitled Soul '98" by Westcoast Goddess ending the album on an ecstatic (but still low-key) note.

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